VANCOUVER—Former premier Christy Clark told British Columbia’s inquiry into money laundering today that she first heard from sources within government in 2015 about a spike in suspicious cash entering casinos.
Clark told the Cullen commission that the spike in reports may also have followed increased training among staff tasked with monitoring casinos, but she was concerned the problem was “apparently at an all-time high.”
She says the concerns raised in 2015 by Mike de Jong, who was the minister responsible for gaming, spurred the creation of the joint illegal gaming investigation team, a division of B.C.’s integrated anti-gang police agency.
Clark testified her government acted quickly to implement a 2011 report that recommended changes to its anti-money laundering strategies.
Clark says the government was concerned about guns, gangs and money laundering, and took significant action in her six years as premier.
She says confirmation of the effectiveness of their approach “is that the current government is continuing with those actions.”
Clark is among a number of former cabinet ministers on the commission’s witness list this month.
Former B.C. Liberal cabinet ministers Rich Coleman, de Jong and Kash Heed, along with Shirley Bond, the party’s interim leader who served as Clark’s public safety minister and attorney general, are also set to testify.
Attorney General David Eby has been added to the witness list as well.
The B.C. government appointed Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen in May 2019 to lead the public inquiry into money laundering after three reports outlined how hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal cash affected B.C.’s real estate, luxury vehicle and gaming sectors.
The province granted the commission an extension in March to produce its final report, which is now due on Dec. 15.